[Note: This is the syndicated L.A. Times puzzle. It does not appear in the actual newspaper, but is available for free at cruciverb.com.]
Theme: "How to Read the Personal Ads" — Tongue-in-cheek translations of statements found in personal ads.
- 23A: "Free spirit" means ... (I LOST EVERY JOB I EVER HAD).
- 31A: "Enjoys long conversations" means ... (I DIDN'T PAY MY CABLE BILL).
- 49A: "Likes home cooking" means ... (I'M TOO CHEAP TO EAT OUT).
- 67A: "Adventurous" means ... (I HAVE BEEN TO THE ZOO ONCE).
- 85A: "Enjoys the beach" means ... (I OWN A METAL DETECTOR).
- 103A: "Likes to cuddle" means ... (MY APARTMENT HAS NO HEAT).
- 112A: "Takes long walks" means ... (MY CAR'S BEEN REPOSSESSED).
This theme reminded me of "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" by Rupert Holmes. That's all about personal ads, right? I haven't heard it recently (thank goodness), but I remember the general idea. Some creepy guy likes piña coladas and getting caught in the rain. Seems a little weird to me, but maybe that's what women liked in the '70s. I was alive during the '70s, but fortunately I was too young to realize how weird everything was.
- 15A: Story morals, e.g. (TAGS). This one made no sense to me. But I checked the dictionary, and a tag can be defined as "an epithet or verbal appendage, the refrain of a song, the moral of a fable, etc." In L.A., tags are spray-painted on freeway overpasses.
- 55A: Solfeggio syllables (FAS). "Solfeggio" is a fancy name for the musical notes do, re, mi, etc.
- 58A: Syr. and Eg., once (UAR). Not to be confused with UAE. Actually they are pretty confusing. Try to remember that the UAR (United Arab Republic) no longer exists, so its clues will usually include "former" or "old" or "once." The UAE (United Arab Emirates) is still around and includes Dubai and Abu Dhabi. If you're not sure, just fill in the UA and get the last letter from the crossing entry. (On a side note, who abbreviates Egypt as Eg.?)
- 109A: Ending for ranch (ERO) / 33D: Buck suffix (AROO). One of these should have been left out.
- 112A: "La ___ Breve": de Falla opera (VIDA). "Livin' la Vida Breve" is one of my favorite arias.
- 5D: Windup toy device (DETENT). It's a little gear or something. Tough word.
- 25D: Rogers Centre team, familiarly (JAYS). The Toronto Blue Jays play in Rogers Centre, which used to be called the SkyDome.
- 46D: "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" author (ROSSNER). Another '70s flashback. I vaguely remember this being a very scandalous movie (I was 8 when it came out), and of course I thought it had something to do with candy bars.
- 50D: "La Boheme" waltzer (MUSETTA). I tried SUSETTE at first, which is a more normal-looking name. Does Musetta just waltz, or does she have lines too? I'm baffled.
- 63D: Research assoc.? (DEV). Research and development or R&D.
- 98D: "Key Largo" co-star (BACALL). I tried BOGART first. They're both awesome. "The Big Sleep" is one of my all-time favorite films.
- 108D: Right-hook man in "Peter Pan"? (SMEE). Best clue for SMEE I can remember. If you need a SMEE refresher, check out the entry in our Crosswordese Round-up below.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
- 20A: Airline since 1948 (EL AL).
- 28A: Outback runner (EMU).
- 100A: Brewery oven (OAST).
- 4D: 2002 British Open champ (ELS).
- 87D: River of central Germany (EDER).
- 108D: Right-hook man in "Peter Pan"? (SMEE).